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The fruit fly, the parasite of rotten fruits ...

Who is the fruit fly ?

fruit fly - Drosophila melanogasterLatin name : Drosophila melanogaster
Order : Diptera
Family : Drosophilidae
Size : 2 to 3 mm
Location : any location

What to know about the fruit fly

Although similar in size, the midge should not be confused with the fruit fly. The midge prefers by far the organic matter found in the soil, to fruit.

The fruit fly (also called vinegar fly or wine fly) is mainly interested in rotting waste, especially fruits and vegetables. It is also found in places where there is the presence of soft drinks, alcohol, beer, ice cream and fermenting flour and of course garbage cans and containers for recyclable materials which are perfect places for reproduction. .

The complete cycle from egg to adult is quite rapid, on the order of 10 to 20 days. Their presence is observed in spring and summer, it is always more important during the ripening of the various fruits that attract them.

Close to the maturity of the grape, the adults are attracted by the volatile odors given off by the berries. These odors are released following parasitic or accidental damage to the grapes. The seeps serve as food for Drosophila which, at the same time, bring to their bodies and reject during their nutrition various micro-organisms including those associated with acid rot. The females then lay their fertilized eggs on the berries. Females lay more or less 300 to 400 eggs, about five at a time, in rotting fruit or other fermenting matter (moisture and yeast).

The larvae hatch quickly, after 24 hours. They then feed on the complex yeast-bacteria mixture and the fermenting medium. Three larval stages follow one another in the berries until pupation (formation of a pupa) on site, then the appearance of adults who will mate and have the ability to contaminate new berries.

Feeding the larvae promotes the tearing of the tissues of the berries. Their faeces, containing the microorganisms, will amplify the development of volatile acidity, attracting new adults. 

The fruit fly in detail

Drosophila melanogaster

Like all insects, Drosophila has three pairs of legs. Like all diptera, it has only one pair of functional wings, the anterior ones, while the posterior ones are atrophied in the form of a tiny pendulum. Diptera are generally small (one inch at most): Drosophila are the smallest representatives. The most well-known diptera are of course flies, mosquitoes and cousins, but in laboratories it is especially Drosophila that is unanimously accepted. Its name means "who loves dew", but in ancient Greek "Droso" also means nectar, divine liquor, wine. In French, it is more commonly called "vinegar fly" because it is found on very ripe or decomposing fruit, but we could just as well call it "wine fly"...

Drosophila is a hygrophilous (moisture-loving) and firefly (light-loving) insect. Adults are sexual with males and females. After mating, the females lay on the medium, usually the fruits, eggs about 0.5 millimeters long, in the shape of a rugby ball. About thirty hours after laying, the eggs will hatch and give birth to a whitish larva (also called "maggot") about 5 mm in length. This one then feeds on the pulp of the fruit by digging galleries. At the end of its growth period, 5-6 days later and three instars later, the larva crawls up to a dry portion of food, or outside, to pupate. It is inside this cocoon that the metamorphosis will take place which will give birth to a winged adult insect. This one will then mate in turn. A single female can produce several hundred offspring.

In detail :

- The eggs have a smooth shell, sometimes bearing 2 to 8 subapical filaments;

- The larva has a vermiform, maggot-like appearance, with a whitish indistinguishable head (cephaly), and a size of 3 to 5 mm, legless and very active;

- The pupa which has the shape of a barrel, is more or less light brown, sometimes yellowish, and presents expansions on each side of the last segment;

- The adult is a fly with spotless hyaline wings, red compound eyes, and a yellowish to brownish coloration. 

Damage and harmfulness of the fruit fly

Drosophila melanogasterOn crops
Adult fruit flies are strongly attracted by fragrant substances such as alcohols, organic acids and acetic ethers secreted by damaged berries, all the more so when the harvest is late and the grape variety grown is white. These lesions are due either to accidental injuries linked to various abiotic stresses or to human activity, or to attacks by various bioaggressors (budworms, powdery mildew, etc.).

The females lay their eggs from which emerge the larvae, hygrophylous and lucicole, which proliferate in the berries already colonized by the yeasts (Kloeckera apiculata, Candida stellata...) or the associated bacteria (Gluconobacter spp., Acetobacter spp....) to acid rot. We should add that they can also transport these micro-organisms.

The direct harmfulness of fruit flies to vines is not in question, but it is the indirect role they play as a vector and aggravating factor for acid rot at the larval stage that classifies them among potential pests of this crop.


Your house
Fruit flies are particularly unpleasant in the home, especially since they reproduce at a very rapid rate. Fruit flies are fond of leftover food, fruit brought back from the market, in which they lay their eggs.

How to eliminate the fruit fly ?

As a preventive
- Store fruits and vegetables in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator or under a glass bell or veil.
- A rotten or overripe fruit, as well as the remains of meals and preparations (peelings...), must immediately be thrown into a trash can - always! - tightly closed.
- Do not leave open glasses or bottles lying around that still contain a bottom of drink (lemonade, wine, beer, etc.).
- Wash the inside of your kitchen bin twice a month with vinegar water.


In curative
- In various places at risk, place small pots with white vinegar and hot water with washing-up liquid added (proportion 50/50). Fruit flies will be attracted and drown in this mixture.

- In a small container, soak a piece of fruit in balsamic vinegar. Cover with cling film and poke a few holes. Enticed, the speckles will enter through these small openings and will be trapped. It will then suffice to get rid of them by releasing them outside the house.

- Use of the Kapo Vert fruit fly trap. The attractant consisting of vinegar (cider and balsamic) will attract fruit flies and they will be trapped by sticking to the sticky surface of the trap.

- Our Ecodoo All Insects aerosols and Aries flying insecticide will eliminate them very quickly by direct spraying.

- Finally, our Habitat Biovétol fogger will give good results on this type of insect. It is an insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), intended for basic treatment of the habitat. Very volatile, the solution is deposited in the smallest recesses where parasites and insects lodge. Immediate and prolonged action. 3 different formats exist: 75ml for a treatment of less than 15m², 150ml, for a treatment of less than 30 m². Finally, 250ml, for a treatment larger than 30m².

Fogger Habitat with plant-based active...

This is fogger composed of plant-based assets is intended for the background treatment of the habitat in case of infestation by mites,...
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This is what the fruit fly looks like under the microscope